Bespoke or off the shelf?  Which e-learning training course is best for you?

For decades, companies have relied on the instructor-led format for training their employees but in the last few years, e-learning has gone from being a relatively new concept to a mainstream approach to training. Aided and supported by advances in technology and connectivity, businesses are embracing the added convenience and reduced costs provided by digital learning platforms that can be accessed any time and from any device.

At Omni, we’re often asked which the most effective delivery method is and whether you should choose an off-the-shelf programme or a bespoke training solution. As with most things, there isn’t a clear answer. Hopefully, this blog will you the insight you need to make that decision. Many firms find that developing a bespoke training programme specifically for the needs of their workforce delivers the greatest benefit, while others yield similar results from off-the-shelf solutions.

Which of these two approaches will work best for your organisation? The answer depends on a number of factors.

Pros for off-the-shelf courses

For many businesses, off-the-shelf training will provide everything they need and more, without being required to pay extra for customisation.

Businesses can get these courses up and running in next to no time, with the design and testing process handled by the supplier. Such solutions can be ideal when providing training on relatively general subjects as the courses will be aligned with industry best practice and compliance standards. As they’re also much more affordable, off-the-shelf programmes are often favoured by smaller companies with less money to spend.

However, the inevitable trade-off is that off-the-shelf solutions will not be tailored to fit the specific needs of your business and team, meaning the content may not necessarily meet your training goals as precisely as a bespoke course designed in-house. If you anticipate that your requirements are too specific for an off-the-shelf option to address, then a bespoke approach may be preferable.

Pros for bespoke courses

The single biggest benefit of a custom-built training programme is that of relevance. With a bespoke option, you’ll be able to tailor every aspect of the course – from the content and the learning materials through to the choice of vocabulary and the values it embodies – to your individual corporate needs.

Because your organisation will have full ownership of a bespoke course, it will be possible to make changes, updates and revisions as and when necessary; it also means the course can be provided to any number of employees without having to pay licence fees for individual learners and remain in use for as long as you need it. However, companies that choose to go down this route should be prepared for higher upfront costs and time spent getting the solution up and running, especially if it’s an e-learning course that has to be developed.

Working with a vendor such as Omni RMS, who can work as part of your team and offer support at every stage, can facilitate these efforts, creating bespoke learning aligned specifically to your needs. This requires a commitment of resources and time; many companies ultimately end up learning just as much from creating a bespoke e-learning solution as they do from running it.

A blended approach?

It’s also worth remembering that the off-the-shelf vs bespoke training is far from a binary choice, as many organisations now opt to mix and match aspects of both approaches to create a blend that works best for them.

For example, you might want to create a training programme that includes pre-packaged modules on industry best practice with sections that deal with how those guidelines apply to your operation. Alternatively, you might be happy to pair a mostly off-the-shelf programme with bespoke refresher resources specific to your organisation and its processes.

By adopting this blended approach, it should be possible to get the best of both worlds, combining the universality of off-the-shelf solutions with elements designed by a specialist organisation like Omni RMS to meet your individual business needs.

Making the right decision for your circumstances

Ultimately, the question of whether you should choose an off-the-shelf or a bespoke e-learning approach doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all answer; it’s about considering the specific needs of your business and selecting the option that represents the best fit.

At Omni RMS, we are specialists in training for Recruitment – both for specialist recruiters and hiring managers – and we provide both off-the-shelf and bespoke courses depending on your requirements. We work with organisations that have training needs for hiring managers and recruiters from as little as 1 up to 1000s.   If you don’t yet have a Learning Management System, we can host the e-learning for you, so nothing is holding you back.  So it’s simply a matter of assessing your training goals, your intended timescale, your budget and your resourcing availability and we’ll be able to consult with you to identify the best possible package to meet those criteria.

Get in touch with us at and we can help you find the right training solution for your team.